Recollections from the Ladies of the Class of 1961
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 1961: What you are about to read are
responses to a pursuit in the making over the past few years. Aided by several
of our ‘mates and Ladies, we now begin to read “Recollections of Life with a
Graduate of the Class of 1961.” You’ll read stories, maybe with a special twist
and some personal viewpoints as authored by Ladies of 1961. Earlier in June
2021, Lucy Paone working with Ed Brown invited the Golden Girls [widows of our
deceased ‘mates] to submit their own Recollections: humorous, insightful, sad,
uplifting, challenging, exciting and the list could go on...
We guys have been doing this sort of writing routinely for over sixty years:
That is telling our own stories. As your Scribe, I believe, the Ladies’
Recollections will become a window that opens up onto our Class history which in
turn becomes part of West Point’s recorded history via the AOG. Perhaps as well,
the Ladies are passing along and reminding us of lessons about the Army’s
culture that we all experienced over these many years.
An FYI: Following distribution of Lucy's invitation there has been added
interest as well among the Ladies of surviving Classmates.
Mary Frances Kenny
A wife of We Were Soldiers
In 2003 Hank and I went to see Mel Gibson’s new movie We Were Soldiers.
When scenes appeared of taxi cabs delivering death notices to families at Ft.
Benning, I shuddered. The scenes took me back to an identical experience at our
home on Carrollburg Drive just outside Ft. Bragg. Along with other wives whose
husbands who had deployed to Vietnam, I lived under constant fear of news
reports of heavy fighting and increasing casualties.
One early fall afternoon I returned home from shopping for a few things for our
two little children. I drove up the driveway, unloaded the car, and walked to
the front door. I was now ready to thank and pay the young girl from next door
for baby-sitting. I turned the key. Opening the door, I saw my baby-sitter
crying. Tears swarmed down her face. “My dad, my dad! My dad was killed,” she
finally said. I tried to console the girl, and shared her grief with tears of my
own. She told me a taxi had arrived at our house with a telegram for my mother.
The driver had asked her, “is this the house of Sergeant ___ (her father)?” She
told him no, that his home was next door. The driver then delivered the telegram
to her mother next door, who in turn had told her the sad news. I walked the
girl home, shaken by the closeness of death to her and all the young families in
the Ft. Bragg area. It was 1966. TV film and news reports were highlighting
intense battles and more casualties.
Leaving the movie theater, I was thankful that Hank and I were alive and well,
and prayerful for those less fortunate in that long and difficult war.
Life in Tokyo
We were living in Tokyo, where Hank was the Special Assistant to Ambassador Mike
Mansfield. A lot of people would come to the Embassy to consult with Mansfield.
One of them was Henry Kissinger, who was enroute to China to help normalize
relations with that country. Before going to China, however, he needed an
injection of gamma globulin. At the time I was serving as the Embassy nurse, so
guess who gave dear old Henry a shot in the "you know what"? Afterward, people
asked me the color and type of his underwear. Top secret!
On another occasion I had the opportunity to meet then Vice President George H.W.
Bush. Although a Republican, he wanted to consult with the former Democratic
leader, and in the process took time to meet with some Embassy staff at
Ambassador Mansfield’s residence. He was very cordial, and when he learned that
Hank and I had lived at West Point and that Hank was a graduate, he appeared
enthusiastic, and recalled his visit and address there while he was the U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations. I later learned that one of the purposes of
his visit was to decide whether to recommend that Mansfield stay on as
Ambassador in Tokyo during the Reagan Administration. He did.
Finally, there was the time when our son John got lost. He had just started
first grade when he hopped a subway hoping to arrive at a station near our home.
Instead, he transferred to the wrong train and wound up in Shinjuku, a city a
dozen miles from downtown Tokyo where we lived. Fortunately, he knew how to use
public phones, and so when he called, I told him to go to the nearest Koban
(police station), and ask for directions to Roppongi station near us. The police
heard the word Roppongi right, and less than an hour later he showed up at our
door. He never got lost again.
Rcollections of the Humorous Side of Life as The Lady
of the Class of 1961
I was an Iowa farm girl with little knowledge of West
Point at the time Larry and I met. I recall telling my
Mom that Larry and I were talking about marriage (after
only 3 dates). She didn’t seem too thrilled or impressed
with him being a West Pointer but she made it clear to
me that I should probably seal the deal since he was a
We were married in northwest Iowa during a blizzard
which dropped over 6 feet of snow. For some reason,
Larry had to drive alone in the blizzard to a church he
had never seen. The service had to be held up a bit but
he made it. Larry has always claimed that the 5
parachute jumps at Airborne School were a piece of cake
compared to this 6th jump into marriage. Of course, it
didn’t end there as we had to spend the first 3 days of
our honeymoon in my parents’ attic while my Dad helped
dig us out so we could make our way to California to
Larry’s first assignment.
When we arrived at Fort MacArthur, CA, we were told we
could stay in the BOQ until we found housing. We were
also told that the BOQ would be empty except for us –
WRONG!!! Larry reported for duty early the next morning
and left me to sleep in. When I went down the hall to
take a shower in my flimsies, I heard voices from the
shower. I ran as hard as I could back to our room and I
think I made it just as 3 guys came out into the hall
from the shower – WELCOME TO THE ARMY!!!
Our first born, Kimberley, arrived in San Pedro, CA on
Christmas Day, 1962. The night before her birth, Larry
and my Dad had more than a few drinks after I went to
bed. As Larry came to bed, I informed him that I thought
I was about to give birth. He tried his best to talk me
out of it saying he was in no condition to deal with
this. I finally prevailed and we were off to the
hospital. About a block from our apartment, Larry
announces that he left his eyeglasses behind and cannot
see well. His drunken state plus being half blind made
for an interesting trip to the hospital. He literally
used the curb as a guide, in and out around parked cars.
When I arrived in the delivery room, Larry announced to
the medical staff that he had a severe case of
hemorrhoids and suggested that he might just require
more attention than his wife. Larry made me a promise
after this that he would arrange in the future to be
absent during any of my future deliveries. He kept this
Life in the Army world continued to be exciting and
unpredictable but for me Larry’s first job after
retirement (Saudi Arabia) probably topped all of our
previous experiences. Larry worked for Vinnell
Corporation, which was charged with training the Saudi
National Guard. I was given some good advice by a fellow
Army wife before going to Saudi Arabia. She told me the
only way for a woman to survive there was to ignore the
Saudi police (Mutawas) and just walk a straight line as
if they didn’t exist. I never had a real problem
shopping except when Larry accompanied me. He was
responsible for keeping me in line (no blonde hair
showing and no part of bare legs showing) and the
Mutawas would give him “hell” for not keeping me under
Larry was fortunate to be able to command both a
battalion and brigade and these opportunities allowed me
to work closely with and assist the young wives of
officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers. This
was my biggest thrill as an Army wife.
Coralinn Tuttle Maus:
Young Brides of USMA Class of 1961
So, can I contribute to this discussion? You Bet! First,
I am steeped in West Point. My dad graduated in 1939.
From Ft. Sam Houston, TX, he was moved to England to
help plan for the Normandy Invasion. Mom was pregnant
when he left, so one of the stories in our home was that
when he returned (I was 4) and Mom told me he was my
daddy, I said “no, my daddy was a picture of him on the
mantel”! We lived at West Point for 2 tours. The last
one was when dad was the first department head of the
new Military Psychology & Leadership Department, the
class of 1961 was the first to attend those classes.
During that tour, in January of 1961, while I was a
senior at Highland Falls high school, I had a blind date
with Mick Maus. I must have made a really good
impression as he traveled back that summer during
graduation leave for a week before going to Airborne
School. He spent the time while I worked at the Thayer
Hotel, working out in the gym getting ready for
Airborne. I am still surprised that Mom & Dad let me
travel to Ft. Benning during Airborne to visit him,
staying with Bob & Sally Potts. Bob was Mick’s room mate
for a couple of years. Mick went into Ranger School then
and I started college at Rider College, now Rider
University. Not missing a chance, he did visit again
after Ranger and at Christmas and again before taking
the USS United States to Europe.
Most will remember that the Berlin Wall went up in 1961
and Mick went to Germany in 1962. Fortuitously for us,
my father was transferred to Germany in 1963 to head up
the US Army Schools in Europe in Oberammergau. Because
of nepotism, I needed to find a job out of southern
Germany and worked then for the Air Force at Rhein Main
AFB as a legal secretary. Mick was in Gelnhausen with a
self-propelled 155 artillery unit and would pick me up
on Friday evenings, rescuing me from the Air Force
Zoomies at work. We made such dear friends with the
young officers and their wives there. We still visit
with them. We were married then in April of 1964 in
Oberammergau (known as the abduction of the child
bride). We say that Jesus and his apostles attended the
wedding and can show the pictures from the reception as
proof. Oberammergau is the scene of the Passion Play
every 10 years and the actors stay in “the look” that
goes with their part in the play.
When Mick elected to resign from the Army I was upset.
It was the only life I had really known. All has worked
out wonderfully, however. We have stayed closely
associated with West Point. Our son, Michael, graduated
in 1987 along with Mick’s brother’s son. Mick’s sister’s
son graduated in 1991. A grandson, Caleb Kilpatrick,
graduated in 2019 and a grandniece, Nicole Maus in 2020.
Civilian life has been an adventure. As Mick progressed
thru the ranks, we moved often and enjoyed most
environs. We are now in the 9th home we have built and I
won’t mention apartments, flats and duplexes. Family,
church, golf & travel have filled any vacant times. With
classmates, we have made the Danube Cruise, the Russian
River Cruise, the Elbe River Cruise, the China
cruise/trip, the New Zealand-Australia trip/cruise and
the photographic safari to South Africa, Zimbabwe &
Botswana. We are looking forward to the Mississippi
River Cruise and the Mediterranean cruise.
“Recollections” of Mike’s First Parachute Jump
It was the day of Mike’s first parachute jump at Ft. Benning in October 1961.
Mike was especially “Out of Sorts” that day, what I thought was just nerves over
jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. So, I made him a big breakfast: eggs,
bacon, grits, toast and jelly. He didn’t eat a bite. Having been in the Army
only three months, I figured this was just the first of many strange experiences
that I was to encounter in the years ahead.
Our Camellia Apartment car pool arrived shortly and Mike got into the car still
looking a little bit queasy. As Mike then tells the story, he arrived at the
hanger, put on his parachute and sat for the usual hour waiting to load the
plane - all the time tightening his straps and thinking this was just nerves.
Eventually, he loaded the plane, took off and made the jump. By this time, I had
arrived at the drop zone to welcome him on the ground, along with other ’61
Of course, we couldn’t recognize our husbands falling through the sky, but I was
able to see that Mike was not leaving the drop zone with the other jumpers.
FIRST ALERT! As it turned out, Mike was still feeling very sick when he hit the
ground. A sergeant then ran up to him to check him out. And, of course, they
then loaded him into a jeep and off they went to some unknown location. My
reaction: “Hello, what about me? I am his wife. Where is he going?”
When Mike’s carpool arrived back at Camellia Apartments one of the guys said,
“They had taken him to the hospital.” Naturally, I hopped into our car and went
to Martin Army Hospital. I was totally freaked out, wandering the halls of the
hospital, trying to find my husband. Finally, this nice man came up to me and
offered to help. I later learned he was the hospital commander. I finally found
Mike and learned he was having an emergency appendectomy and was scheduled for
surgery in a few hours.
The surgery was successful but so much for that jump class. Mike was then
assigned to the training battalion for a two- month profile, waiting to enter
the next class to complete his jumps. Colonel Joseph was the training battalion
commander. For the next two months Mike and I made Christmas decorations for the
Battalion headquarters. We met with the Colonel and his wife for drinks every
afternoon at his quarters, cutting out and painting plywood Christmas elves to
place in front of the headquarters.
This turned out to be a fun time and a learning experience. I had come to
appreciate the prerogative of informality that we had graciously been given by
the Joseph’s and also recognized there were times, when formality dictated, I
remain quiet. (very difficult for my talkative nature).
“Recollections” of Their Early Encounters [Bruce: 8 February 1939
- 18 April 2019]
I met Bruce Shroyer '61 H-2 in a rather unique set of circumstances. I was
modeling for Mademoiselle Magazine, College Edition ,in the fall of 1958. Bruce
saw my picture and wrote to me at my College. I am sure Mademoiselle was not on
his Yearling year required reading list along with Paul Frey's Chemistry
Treatise . None the less, after checking him out I did write back.
As a counterpoint to this story following on the modeling theme, Bruce had his
own encounter with the NYC magazine world. On July 4th 1961, having just
returned from our honeymoon in Puerto Rico, Bruce and I were strolling along the
boardwalk at Jones Beach on Long Island.
We were stopped by a gentleman who handed Bruce his business card and asked if
he ever considered modeling ? “Wasn't that what West Point prepared you all for,
any contingency?” At first we thought it was a joke but soon realized he was
serious. Bruce spent the next 3 1/2 weeks of his summer leave going from one
studio to another, ultimately appearing in several magazine ads and a clothing
catalog. Bruce finished the last" shoot" with just enough time to get a hair cut
(the photographer had wanted his hair long for the shots) and to drive with me
to Fort Benning to begin Airborne School. His pay for this short lived career
surpassed his 2nd Lieutenant 's salary.
Bruce and I began our courtship and marriage with one or the other of us
modeling in magazines. “Ironic”